Lenders relax evidence requirements for business interruption loan scheme applications

The UK's seven largest small business lenders have relaxed their evidence requirements for applications to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The seven small business lenders will use their own information when processing and approving applications, rather than relying on businesses providing forecasts and business plans.

In a joint statement, the seven lenders and trade association UK Finance stated: 'Following changes to the scheme . . . lenders will only ask businesses for information and data they might reasonably be able to provide at speed, and we will not require the provision of forward-looking financial information or business plans from businesses applying for CBILS-backed lending, relying instead on our own information to assess credit and business viability.'

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said that the changes 'should make the scheme easier to access and make the application process quicker'. However, it also said that firms should still carefully assess the implications of taking on debt finance. 

Commenting on the issue, Philippa Kelly, Head of the Financial Services Faculty at the ICAEW, said: 'We are pleased to see lenders taking the need to provide support quickly seriously, but the process must remain robust, for the benefit of businesses and the wider financial system.'

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